Team receives award for diversity leadership

Co-chaired by Dr. David Chesney, the team was formed to address how disabled students experience campus.

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Front: Ashley Wiseman and Reason, Brad Ebenhoeh, Jane Berliss-Vincent Middle: Sonia Raheja, Luke Kudryashov, Christina Kline, Pam McGuinty, Shanna Kattari, Jacquline Jeffery, Anna Schnitzer, Marlanna Landeros Back: Will Sherry, Josh Guberman, Paul Artale, Solomon Furious Worlds, Stephanie Rosen, David Chesney, Sue Deer Dembowski

The Student IDEA Board, co-chaired by Dr. David Chesney and Christina Kline, Associate Director at the Office of Institutional Equity, has been recognized for its efforts and impact by the University with a Distinguished Diversity Leaders Award. This award is made possible by the Office of the Provost and University Human Resources to celebrate progress toward creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

The Student IDEA Board, composed of faculty, staff and students, was formed to address how disabled students experience campus. Survey data has shown that disabled students experience a higher rate of discrimination and a lack of a sense of belonging on campus.

Since forming, the team has made recommendations that include how to update emergency procedures to meet the needs of disabled people, the use of standards to design accessible and inclusive learning environments, and the development of a disability cultural center to build community and support for campus-wide initiatives related to diversity.

The name of the group, according to Dr. Chesney, was created by rearranging the acronym for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and adding “A” for accessibility. And the name fits, since the group has many ideas about creating a more inclusive environment for all.

“This group includes a diversity of experience that really informs one’s perspective,” notes Chesney. “As a result, the group has been able to make recommendations that have had immediate impact. And there is so much that we can continue to do.”